Saturday, June 28, 2008

In new York

hello, I am currently in Newark waiting for my flight to Toronto which is fortunately delayed since my flight from Paris was delayed almost 3 hrs.
I am so very tired and excited to be almost home.
that's it from me.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Paris, and six months of travel come to a close.

Well this will be the last post from my travels.
I have been almost six months on the road and tomorrow I am heading home.

How was Paris?
Paris is beautiful. It lives up to all expectations. The people are kind and not at all snobby, in my experience anyways. The city is what is reports to be, as pretty as its pictures and as alive with culture and conversation as it has been since the enlightenment.
I can't possibly give you a run down of my days here, but here are some short notes:

- The biggest culture shock;
-yellow haired people. So many blonds!!!
-public displays of affection, very intimate displays of affection and of all age groups. Yup, I watched a middle aged couple heavily making out in the park yesterday. And coming from India, just holding hands with a member of the opposite sex is a big deal.

-The most surprising:
-my reaction to seeing the Mona Lisa. I was completely transfixed and this really surprised me as I haven't been a big fan of the painting. Her smile is still annoying, it was more the complexity of the painting, particularly the lower half, that held me. It was not the experience I had expected.

-The most beautiful:
-the streets and their beautiful apartment buildings.

-The funniest thing:
- All the pink-skinned people. All the fair skinned people who have come to Paris for their first vacation of the summer and put on their summer dresses and skimpy tops and neglect sunscreen. These white people then become pink and red and they are everywhere!! So many in fact it is like an epidemic. Very funny to see.

-Most delicious thing:
- Pan au Chocolat. When fresh and warm, this French treat is everything that is sinful and everything that is wonderful in the world. It is really best eaten in private.

-My favorite area:
- Paris 6 - St. Germain neighbourhood on the Left Bank.

-My favorite place:
- hard to say, I haven't spent enough time in the city, but as of now, probably the Luxembourg gardens.

-Most disappointing thing:
- The Musee Rodin had its vast garden closed to set up some private event. I got to see the sculptures in the main building but missed out on all the ones in the garden. I was very sad.

-Most embarassing:
- No not my traveller's fashions, it was my lack of French.

-Most delightful thing about Paris:
-Multicultralism in French. I have travelled to many countries all over the world but my travels are in English and my experiences of other cultures is through the native tounge of the area and through English. Paris feels as multicultural as Toronto, more so even than New York, and everyone of all racial and cultural backgrounds speaks French. For me this is very new and exciting. Every day this delights me. I love that my Japanese waiter speaks French and no English, and that the Reggae guy playing music in the train station sings and thanks financial contributor in French.

-Sights visited (not just seen from ourside):
-Musee d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Louvre, Luxemburg Gardens, Musee Rodin, Pantheon, Versailles, Eiffel Tower (I did't go up), Tuileries Gardens, Pont Neuf.

-Sights on my list that I missed:
-Picasso Museum, Moulin Rouge, Monte's Gardens, Arc de Triomphe ( I did see it from afar), and the Catacombes.

-The Best thing:
- Being constantly mistaken for Parisian and asked for directions.

-The Worst thing:
-Being constantly mistaken for Parisian and having to reveal that not only am I not Parisian but I don't speak a word of French.

There is so much more to this beautiful city but I can't put it into a blog entry.
Constance has been a kind and generous host, even though this is her exam time and a visitor is the last thing she needs.

Tomorrow I head home. It seem surreal. Tonight Constance and I had a picnic on the foot bridge over the Siene- wine, baguette, cheese, and strawberries, tomorrow I will have dinner in New York (in the airport) and Saturday morning I will wake up at my cottage to a smoke salmon breakfast (hint hint, nug nug). My cloths smell of India, my hands are covered in henna designs. My body has no idea where it is in the world or what time it is.

So I sign off for these adventures. I will continue to post.
Thank you for following my adventures.


Monday, June 23, 2008

A Hellish Journey but I am here - Paris!

So the saying goes, "getting there is half the fun".... or something like that. Well when it comes to air travel, I would beg to differ.
I just experienced some of the worst of airport nightmares- missed connections, lost bookings, bookings never made, kind airline supervisors replaced by hellish ones at the last stage of fixing a problem, total exhaustion, no sleep, uncomfortable sleep, endless walking, literally running betweeen trains that connect the massive heathrow (yes, in all of this I ended up in England for 6 hours), smashed toes causing very painful walking and running.
Lets just say I am very happy to be in Paris, rather I am trying to be happy in Paris, mostly that experienced had me stairing at the departure boards and at the flights headed to Toronto and just wanting to forget Paris and just go home. But now I am here and it is beautiful, the little I have seen anyway.
I saw my friend Beth last night, tonight I will stay in a hotel and tomorrow I should be staying with my friend Constance. I am very much looking forward to checking into my hotel (1 more hour) and going back to bed!!!!!
I am planning to do a free walking tour this afternoon and probably meet up with Constance for dinner.
FYI- Paris is cold! I know, laugh at the girl who has been in India for three months but lord 15-20° (not sure exactly) is cold!!!! I will have to dig in my beg for my one long-sleved shirt. The wrap is not cutting it.
okay i am heading back to that amazing looking backery I passed and buyinging myself some bread and cheese.
This French keyboard is really giving me a hard time, and reaching the "a" key is cramping my baby finger.
p.s. Paris looks just like the post cards!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Last Day in India

This will be my last post from India.
I am flying out tonight from Delhi to Mumbai and then from Mumbai to Paris. I should arrive in Paris around 1pm on the 22nd of June. I will be staying my first night with my friend Beth from Trinity and then the last few days with my frind Constance, also from Trin.
I have loved my time in India. Leaving it is hard, leaving Javed is hard, but Paris will be exciting. I nice transition I think.
Right now Javed and I are chilling at our friend Puja's place, a nice low-key final day, no rushing around.

Thank you India for all you have giving me. I plan on returning next year.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Time where did you go?

4 days until I arrive in Paris.
10 days until I am back in Canada.
Where did the time go?
I can't believe I have been traveling for 5 months and in less than two weeks it will all be over.

Yes I am excited to go home and see my family.
I am expecting culture shock. Paris will probably do me in in that sense.
I have started to research what I want to do in Paris and it is all very overwhelming. It is a very very big city with a million and one things to do. It is almost too much for one person todo alone. Normally I love tackeling big cities full of art galleries by myself but this one seems too much. That and 4 days sightseeing is totally going to break the bank. oh well, tis Paris and I intend to do it some justice with the little time I have.

Still working on the cookbook and soaking up my last few days with Javed.


Some photos

Some photos from Dharmasala.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Back in Udaipur

I am back in Udaipur. I would like to upload pics of my time in Dharamasala but I have to pay to upload at this Internet cafe!! so annoying!
I am settling back into my old routine here. After I wake up I head to Javed's family home to help his mother with breakfast, any chores she will allow me to do (she has lost all rights to the dishes, they are mine!) then we make lunch. I am becoming as she said, a chapatti master! I just hope my skills will last me until I arrive home. After lunch Javed and I chill together for a few hours before I head back to the house to help prepare dinner. After dinner I am generally so exhausted that I just head back to the hotel and crash. Physical labour man, its exhausting!
To add some extra purpose to my time here, and to help me remember how to cook these dishes, I have begun work on a cookbook. I am writing down javed's mother's verbal recipes, estimating amounts (handful of this spice would be..., that large spoon is what? 1/4 cup?), and taking photos along the way. I plan to buy one of the beautiful leather bound books here and put it all together before I leave. I am very excited about it and I can't wait to show Javed's mother and mine.
So that is what my life is like at the moment.
Udaipur is much cooler than I expected. We are experiencing some early monsoon weather ever few days. it cools things down a lot.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Amistar, Pakistani border

Well plans have changed as happens so often when traveling. Our friend Puja was detained in Delhi so Javed and I went to Amritsar along the border with Pakistan to meet up with Megan and Nick- friends of mine from highschool that are traveling in India. Amritsar is the home of the Golden Temple, the most important holy shrine for the Sheiks. Amritsar was deathly hot. Javed felt it was the hottest he has ever been and coming from a guy from Rajasthan, that is saying something. I have no idea what the temperature actually was, it was in the mid-forties for sure. In the evening we went to the India-Pakistani border to watch the border ceremony. It was so amazing! There were soo many people there. There was dancing (Megan and I were pulled up to join in) and patriotic chanting from both sides. It felt more like we were at a sporting event than a border event between two rather hostile countries. I was so thrilled to be there. We didn't stay in Amritsar for very long as ti was too hot and there isn't so much to do there. We are now in Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama and the seat of the Tibetan government. Tomorrow we are going to do some sightseeing.
I have delayed my time in India to spend 10 more days with Javed. This cuts into my time in Paris but does not affect my return to Canada.

Note- I need to apologize for my last blog entry. While I did not realize it at the time, I said things that I shouldn't have. I have taken it down. I haven't reread it, frankly I am embarrassed to, but the emails I received from people I love have made me feel very ashamed. I am so deeply sorry. It was not my intention to hurt, honestly it wasn't.

I am working hard to put myself in a better emotional place. Being with Javed is a huge help.